Property management, be it apartments, hostels, or hotels, has been given special weight this year. Covid19 encountered an unprepared market, endangered the health of our fellow citizens, endangered our economic development, and showed us what challenges mean. Of course, certain tourism sectors, such as mountain and rural, have experienced booms and unprecedented sales records.
Although the announced vaccines have shown an efficiency of over 90%, we are certainly sure that the recovery will not be fast and that there are additional challenges facing urban and coastal tourism that must be overcome. One of these challenges is: how to maintain and improve the business in times of crisis?
To help you move forward, we have prepared a list of 7 items that can help you get organized.
1. Let cleanliness be your trademark
Numerous surveys, both with guests and with the owners and managers of accommodation and hotels, have pointed us to one important thing – hygiene has never been more important in the eyes of travelers. Over 96% of owners and managers believe that hygiene will be a crucial factor in the coming period, as tourism recovers.
Changes that take place on the demand side must be followed in detail so that the business can develop. Having a certificate of cleanliness by verified institutions can definitely help, but it will not be a crucial item when assessing cleanliness. Potential guests will review the experiences of previous guests, review the condition of the rooms, and contact you if they have additional questions.
One extremely important item that can instill confidence is the information page on your website and in the rooms. This is information about what you are doing to prevent the spread of the virus and protect your guests? Explanatory cleaning procedures, check-in processes, and a limited number of people in common areas are key items that guests will review when choosing their future destination.
2. Improve your communication with guests
The process of deciding to book your accommodation begins the moment the guest finds out about you. That moment can be through print media, digital media, searching online sales channels (Booking, Airbnb, Expedia, Hotelbeds, etc.), on your website, but also a recommendation from other guests.
Each of these moments must be promoted by you. As an example we can take your website and the flow of information that reaches a potential guest:
- The home page of your website should be concise and clearly highlight your strengths
- Website must be loaded quickly
- Website should be sales oriented (mailing lists, special offers, additional discounts, etc.)
- Your Booking engine must be clear, concise and modern. New times are coming and guests are judging on the basis of trifles.
You should have an organized mailing list, which will inform your guests in detail about the news, offering special discounts. In addition, automated communication, with clear information, is no longer the future, but the present. This option should exist in your property management system and be directly integrated with your channel manager and booking engine systems.
3. Start a program of incentives and recommendations
This is not a new option on the market but represents a practice that has proven itself well in the sales channel business. Looking at the global market, statistics show that over 81% of online shoppers are mainly influenced by friends and acquaintances. The recommendation is a quality and reliable way to reach new guests.
Although the common type of recommendation, word-of-mouth, has proven to be the best way to improve sales, there are additional opportunities for improvement.
People respond to incentives! Additional benefits, such as a discount for each referral a person finds, a free overnight stay for every X persons recommended, or even a cash payment of a certain percentage or a fixed amount per night/stay can be an effective tool to promote this type of promotion.
4. Improve your brand and your story
The brand is what your guests recognize you by, what makes them come back to you and the feeling you evoke in them when studying your accommodation. You should pay special attention to the story that you place to the guests, ie the elements of the story that make you different from the others. It can be a special service, a unique first experience during the stay, but also the type of accommodation itself. Explore your competition, check out global practices that have proven positive, and create a unique opportunity for your guests.
Our recommendation is to get more active on social networks, upload short stories of your guests, events that surround you, the historical significance of your place, but also daily activities that make you special.
5. Respond to the concerns of your potential guests
In advance on your social networks, website, and other promotional channels, take a moment to dedicate yourself to the potential worries of your guests.
Some of these concerns may be: inability to pay for accommodation upon arrival at once, parking, internet quality, accessibility, hygienic conditions, age and quality of furniture in rooms/apartments, additional activities and facilities (spa, hiking, skiing, swimming, cycling, etc.) and many others. Explain to the guests what awaits them, what the alternatives are, and why what is on offer is exactly what they need.
If you respond in advance to the potential concerns of guests, you give them extra security. This sales technique has proven to be effective especially in periods of high demand when prices are higher than out of season. Then the guests plan their budget in more detail and make sure that they get maximum pleasure for that price.
6. Get out of your comfort zone
The comfort zone for some is to allow a minimum of 7 nights, in weekly shifts. For others, it is that they do not allow pets to stay. While for some it may be excessive rules and high additional fees that guests have to pay during their stay.
A minimum number of nights with clearly defined shifts is ideal when your business relies on travel agencies. We remind you that this year travel agencies are additionally affected, often unable to meet the needs of passengers, and additional flexibility can only help fill the capacity.
It is often one of the requirements for guests to have the opportunity to take their pets with them on vacation. This option is repulsive to hotel and apartment owners, for fear that the pet could cause damage. You can solve the insurance of that damage by depositing or pre-authorizing a certain amount from the guest card, so that the stay of the pet is enabled, and you are protected in case of damage.
Excessive deposits and fees can discourage the guest, so you need to first define your costs in detail in case of damage.
7. Invest in yourself and your business
If you do not have enough knowledge, you will not be able to achieve the maximum from your business. Knowledge in itself does not necessarily mean that you know how to interpret reports, to calculate the prices of overnight stays in dinars, but what is definite is that you need to know your job. From what kind of guests you expect, what their expectations are, how to reach certain guests, how to deal with difficult guests, but also how to keep up with the market.
You can often gather all this knowledge for free online, reading blogs, attending webinars, following business guides via platforms like Youtube. If you are willing to invest money, detailed courses, online training, and coaching are available online for prices that are often very low and affordable.
Do not hesitate to explore modern technologies that will make your business easier, which will be your employee and right hand. Online business is the present and needs to stay current. Whether you choose: Property management system (reception), Channel manager, Booking engine (online reception), or other CRM or RMS capabilities.
The job starts with you, your motivation, and your knowledge. When you are maximally committed, flexible, and focused on your guests, the results are often easier to come by than in cases where you do the work solely for profit, without the desire to invest.